Walking is a great place to start if you’re new to exercising or simply lacking motivation to be more active.Walking is the oldest form of human physical activity there is, and the benefits of walking are great!

  1. Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
  2. Low-Impact and Easy on Joints
  3. Good for Improving and Preserving Heart Health
  4. Alleviates Depression and Improves Your Mood
  5. Supports Bone Health into Older Age
  6. Can Be Done Anywhere and Doesn’t Require Equipment

Is walking for the sake of exercise good for everyone?

Actually, walking briskly is maybe the safest training there is, and appropriate for most people most of the time. Strong and healthy individuals could and probably should do more than brisk walking. But, for deficient individuals, for Vata people, for recuperating from illness and for the elderly, walking is the safest. If you are one of the above, take care to walk only until you break into a mild sweat (when sweat appears on your forehead) and then prepare to finish your session. Sweating is depleting, therefor you should avoid heavy sweating to preserve your energies and resources.

Walking suggestions

Walk outside: whenever possible, walking outside as close to nature as possible is the best choice.

Walk when it is cooler: prefer walking early morning or around sunset and avoid the intense sun.During winter walk in the middle of the day when it is warmer.

Warm up: Take it slower at first and walk at a speed that’s about 50 percent your maximum effort.

Stretch: after your short warm up, stretch your calves, front of thigh (quadriceps), back of thigh (hamstrings) and lower back, holding each stretch for 30 seconds ideally. You can help prevent injuries by wearing proper shoes, warming up slowly, and stretching.

Brisk walk: Once you feel loosened up, start to walk at a faster pace. In terms of your effort, you shouldn’t be able to talk much. Keep your chest upright and your shoulders relaxed. Allow your heel to strike the ground first, rolling forward while you push off your toes. You can also pump your arms to help propel your body or let them swing naturally. Squeezing your core will help activate your stomach and back muscles.

To end your workout: you can take it easy for the last five minutes of your walk to catch your breath. Then cool down by doing some more stretching, especially focusing on your hamstrings and quads, which can become tight.

How much should I walk?

If you’re not already active, it’s a good idea to start slow and kick up your intensity gradually. Aim for an initial goal of walking for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, once or twice a day however it fits your schedule. As your stamina and endurance improve, you can add 5 to 10 minutes to your walk every couple of days. You might start out walking three times per week and soon find you’re walking five to six days. That’s what can happen when you notice the positive difference in your body and mood!

Increase your duration and pace so you reach 30–60 minutes almost daily, including a warm-up and cool-down session and some stretching to help prevent injuries.

Considering that walking is super convenient, doesn’t wear down joints yet still burns calories, light up your metabolism, and can help prevent dozens of different diseases, there’s really no downside to walking according to your abilities.

What about walking after meals?

Walking after meals could be very good for your digestion, but this kind of walk is totally different from the brisk walking described above. Walking after meals is more of a leisure walk, a shorter distance and at slow pace. The goal is to gently encourage blood circulation and the downward movement of intestinal peristalsis. Walking after meals is of great value after heavy meals, for people with a slow digestion or for diabetics. Needless to say, it does not count as your daily aerobic exercise!

Complementing walking with muscle building to avoid joint injury

It’s also a good idea to consider adding in several moderately intense, strength-building workouts into your weekly routine — that is if you’re capable enough to do so.Performing one to three high-intensity interval training workouts, done in just about 10–20 minutes, will help prevent orthopedic injuries, bone loss and muscle loss.

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